Books (and thoughts of books) consume most of my waking hours. Although my actual reading time is limited to some extent due to my responsibilities I enjoy taking the time to talk about books with my library patrons and co-workers, my family and friends, and (quite frequently) strangers at the grocery store, hair salon, or wherever else I happen to be. I am passionate about fiction in particular and could happily spend hours per day conversing about which authors have upcoming books and whether or not the movie was as good as the book. Talking about what I am reading, making recommendations and listening to others make their own book recommendations all provide me great satisfaction.
Fiction and reading are powerful. Recently, I was lucky enough to attend the Emerald City Comicon panel which featured Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe (the stars of the television show Outlander which is based on the wonderfully lengthy book series of the same name by author Diana Gabaldon). As I sat in a huge room at the Washington State Convention Center with hundreds of other women (and a few men) and listened to accounts of how the series (both the books and the television show) had pulled multiple audience members out of deep depression and given them something to look forward to again I was reminded how Story can save us.
Finding great new books/stories can be a little challenging, though. Friends and family may have reading tastes which greatly diverge from one’s own. Reviews can be a bit hit or miss. What is a reader to do?
Fortunately, those of us who work at the library are always happy to make recommendations. Many of us are voracious readers who greatly enjoy readers’ advisory. Not only can we recommend the books that we have read ourselves, we can also use a number of sites/databases to find the perfect book for any reader. I have listed some of my favorite sites below:
Goodreads.com allows one to keep a list of books that one would like to read. It also allows one to keep track of what one’s friends are reading and liking (or not liking as the case may be). Goodreads has so many different features (lists of upcoming books, reviews, groups) that one could get lost for hours.
Novelist is a library database which can be accessed from the library's site (KRL.org). It is located under the "Research" tab. It does require a library card in order to access it, but it contains a treasure trove of information. Search for books by genres, authors, recommended reads, award winners and read-alikes (for titles AND authors). Want to find the fourth book in that Georgian mystery series you started a few years ago and want to return to? Novelist is the place for that.
Smart Bitches Trashy Books is one of my favorite sites. It celebrates all aspects (both the silly and the sublime) of romantic fiction. Want fabulous reviews, lots of cover snark and men in kilts? If you do (and who wouldn't) then this is your site.
Earlyword.com, although ostensibly for librarians and booksellers, features lots of fun material which will interest the everyday avid reader. Information about breakout and debut authors, movie tie-ins and lists which contain the best books of the year are easily accessible. Earlyword also features the latest from readers' advisory guru Nancy Pearl (the only librarian I know of who has her own action figure).
If reading about Nancy's recommendations is not enough for you, then you are in luck. Join us for an afternoon with Nancy Pearl at the Poulsbo Library on May 6 at 2:00. As our site notes "Nancy Pearl is a librarian, best-selling author, literary critic, rock star among readers, and the tastemaker people turn to when deciding what to read next. She will share her approach to reading and highlight some great reads."
Now get out there and read!